A goal of mine when I joined Odyssey was to be the person who showed the world the voices of the community around me. Every time I have done an interview, it is because there is something about the people I have interviewed that others do not know. And this interview is an addition to the collection of stories I've had the amazing privilege to tell. I love reading about different perspectives, but I haven't seen too many pieces that display the perspective of a mixed child. I have seen statistics and facts, but neither of those compare to the voice of a person with a story about her life as a multiracial child. My friend Sarah* is someone whose voice deserves to be heard by the world, and I could not thank her enough for being such a wonderful friend and for doing this interview.
Please note that the person's name has been changed*, and the person pictured in the cover photo is not the same person who was interviewed. Also, any text within brackets has been changed for clarity or grammar purposes.
Has being biracial ever been a problem for you?
"Being biracial has opened my eyes to new cultures and has helped me experience diversity in the world. Although being multiracial has opened my eyes, it can be at times hard because it's sometimes difficult to relate to other people.
"A problem that I have faced as a mixed person is representation in general society. For example, there are not a lot of role models that I can look up to that are of my same races. There are people that I look up to that are of one of my races, [but they are] never of both. Fortunately, we live in an open-minded world (for the most part), and almost everyone that I know does not judge me based on my ethnicities.
"However, my parents, being a multiracial couple, have been judged because of the fact that they are not of the same race. [Once] they asked someone to take a picture of them, and he refused to, solely due to the fact that they were of different ethnicities."
What are the benefits of being multiracial?
"I come from two very diverse and rich cultural backgrounds, and both my direct and extended family members have taught me many interesting things about my history, which has enabled me to be more aware and open-minded. I have immense respect for everything that my grandparents on both sides have gone through to raise my parents, who then raised me. I love hearing stories from both families, whether [they] be influential historical events or unique traditions. When I was younger, for special events like family reunions, I got to wear traditional clothing, and it was interesting to see the differences [between] the said clothing and what I usually wore.
"I get to travel to my different homelands. For example, I got to go out of the country for the first time a while back to visit my extended family, and it was an incredible experience that I won't forget. Not only did I feel enriched with new knowledge, but I also gained a better understanding of my roots."
Do you find any differences between being multiracial versus others of one race?
I wanted to ask her about a more specific topic, which was that certain mixed people have claimed to feel out-of-place when it comes to figuring out where they feel they belong. Fortunately, she replied that she doesn't feel the same way.
"I get to see the world through two different lenses. Diversity is a very big part of my life, and it has helped shaped me to become the person I am today, both figuratively and literally. I hope I can spread my cultural awareness to other people and absorb theirs as well to make me a better person.
"But for standardized tests and any forms that require me to fill out my race, I often find it difficult to decide which of my two ethnicities to put down. There's always the 'other' option, but at the same time, my ethnicities are both presented. It wouldn't make sense for me to put ['other'].
"I feel like the community and the people I've surrounded myself with are accepting of everyone, and I'm thankful that I haven't experienced discrimination or felt like I haven't belonged. I just hope that others like me feel the same way."